PASADENA, California -- The 102nd Rose Bowl Game didn't go the way many envisioned on New Year's Day.
Stanford completely dominated Iowa from start to finish, winning the Rose Bowl by a score of 45-16. The Hawkeyes couldn't stop Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey, who set a new Rose Bowl record with 368 all-purpose yards. He also become the first player in Rose Bowl history to post at least 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving.
"They outplayed us. They did a great job. They're a veteran football team," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "It's hard to find -- you can find less than a handful of guys that aren't seniors or juniors on that team, and I think that was a big part of it. Obviously, another big part of that was one of the underclassmen that's not a junior or senior, No. 5, he's a very, very special player too. They have an excellent football team."
The sophomore showed his electric talent throughout this game on the big stage. He scored one of his two touchdowns on the first play of the game, a 75-yard touchdown reception that would set the tone for the rest of the day. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan also played effectively and had four total touchdowns.
"Regarding McCaffrey, the thing there is when you play a great football player, and he is a great football player, he earned that trip to New York, and nobody on our football team would disagree with that, it's impossible to duplicate that out there on the practice field," Ferentz said. "We don't have anybody like that, and I mean that with all due respect to our players. We have a lot of good players, but he's a rare talent. He's a tremendous football player, great balance, great vision, very difficult to tackle. So, you know, it's just a real credit to him."
After only scoring three points through three quarters, Iowa was able to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter on a pair of Beathard touchdown throws. However, it wasn't enough to match Stanford's output on Friday.
"For us, we just didn't get it going offensively," Iowa center Austin Blythe said. "And Stanford played a good defensive game obviously, and we didn't get anything going until the end there. And at that point it was too little way too late."
Iowa trailed 35-0 at halftime as McCaffrey scored both of his touchdowns and totaled 248 yards. One of those scores came on a demoralizing 63-yard punt return that proved why Iowa was so concerned with his elusiveness coming into this matchup.
"McCaffrey, he's a great running back," Iowa safety Jordan Lomax said. "Everybody saw that today, and everybody's seen it all season long. His ability to allude tackles and stay on his feet. He's just a great player."
Stanford even pulled out a trick play in the second quarter that resulted in a touchdown. Quarterback Kevin Hogan threw a 31-yard touchdown to Michael Rector after faking a fumble in the backfield.
The Cardinal added a defensive score in the first quarter when Quenton Meeks read an out pattern and returned a Beathard interception 56 yards for a touchdown. The pick six gave Stanford a 21-0 lead, which was the most points ever scored in the first quarter of the Rose Bowl.
It was an extremely disappointing result for the Hawkeyes, who entered this game expecting to come away with their first Rose Bowl victory since 1959. However, they were essentially behind from the start and appeared to lose all of their confidence early.
Iowa's record-setting 2015 season, one in which they went 12-0 for the first time in school history, earned several awards and fought through numerous injuries, couldn't have ended in a more unsatisfying way. Still, the players say this loss doesn't take anything away from what they accomplished this year.
"It's been an unbelievable year with the group of guys we've got," Blythe said. "Everybody working towards a common goal, working together. There was nobody standing off on the side doing their own stuff. Like Jordan said, just playing for these fans, this university and for a coach like Coach Ferentz is second to none."
The Cardinal and McCaffrey were just too much for the Hawkeyes to handle in the Rose Bowl.
"We're all disappointed at the outcome of the game today, the way we played," Ferentz said. "But that being said, I just say it one more time, just how proud I am of our football team. They've been a tremendous group all season long. 13 times they've prepared well, they've competed hard, and today just didn't work out for us."
All quotes provided by CollegePressBox.com